Course Paper

Assignment: Research and write a paper discussing a current computer architectural topic/issue. This topic and paper must be researched and written this semester for this class(i.e. a paper from a previous class is not allowed to be used). Append a list of resources/references used to the end of your paper (you must have at least three sources).

Topic selection due: Submit your topic to your instructor (see calendar for deadline) via plain text e-mail (rather than a Microsoft Word document etc.). See topic suggestions below. If you do use a suggested topic, your proposed topic description should reflect some amount of research into the subject -- just repeating the topic from the suggested topic list is not enough! For instance, for a particular problem, briefly describe the problem, your sources, and, if applicable, the particular solution(s) that you will consider for this problem.

One restriction: you may not use the Pentium division bug as a topic! (later you will get a sample paper with this topic).

Paper Length: 3 to 5 pages.

Paper Content: Your paper should have some analysis, not just a rehashing of the sources that you found. For instance, if discussing a problem, how serious a problem is it and are the solutions you discovered likely to really work?

Suggested topics (but need not be one of these):


-Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) machines.  Why
do this -- what are the costs and benefits? 

-Costs and benefits from going to a 64-bit architecture.

-Wire delay -- what is it and why are chip designers so scared about it?

-What is a dataflow machine?  Why didn't the idea take over the world?

-Investigate a cutting edge research architecture -- what problem
does it address and how?  For instance, 
http://wavescalar.cs.washington.edu/ OR
http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/cart/trips/

-Quantum computation

-Simultaneous multithreading:
http://www.cs.washington.edu/research/smt/
(renamed Hyperthreading by Intel)
http://www.intel.com/technology/hyperthread/

-Fault tolerant computing
(hardware failures or design flaws)
For instance, see DIVA:
http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~taustin/papers/MICRO32-diva.pdf

-Reconfigurable computing.  For instance:
http://www.acm.org/crossroads/xrds5-3/rcconcept.html 

-Concurrency in hardware and software
One possible place to start:
http://www.gotw.ca/publications/concurrency-ddj.htm

-Why is branch prediction so important?  Investigate and describe
some of the most successful techniques that have been recently 
proposed or used.

-What is the "memory wall"?  Describe the problem and then investigate
at least one aggressive technique for attacking it.  See for instance:
http://www.ece.neu.edu/wall2k.html
http://www.ece.neu.edu/conf/wall2k/MWMprog.htm

-Why is power consumption an increasingly important factor for
processors?  Research and describe some techniques for reducing power
consumption.

-Optical based computers or interconnect.

-Issues with scaling down transistor size.


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